ISL 20-21 opening week clocks 8% growth in viewing minutes

The matches are telecast and live-streamed in 82 countries.

NEW DELHI: The craze for football is getting bigger and bigger in India with every passing edition of Hero ISL. This year, the championship is into its seventh season and is the first major sporting league playing in the country since the pandemic started.

Hero ISL returned on 20 November in a new 11 team avatar, raising the competition a notch higher. The live action is telecast and live streamed in 82 territories across the world through five partners across TV and digital platforms.

Official broadcasting partner Star Network is exclusively bringing ISL matches in India on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English); Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3, Star Gold 2 (Hindi), Asianet Plus, Asianet Movies (Malayalam); Star Sports Bangla; Star Sports Kannada; Star Sports Tamil; Star Sports Telugu and Star Sports Marathi. Online streaming will be available on Disney+ Hotstar VIP and JioTV.  

In the latest, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has stated that the opening week of ISL clocked eight per cent more viewing minutes in comparison to last year. In 2019, ISL garnered 3.16 billion minutes while in 2020, it garnered 3.42 billion minutes.

Another report from the broadcaster also noted that the tournament clocked a 16 per cent spike in viewership in the opening week (first eight matches), as compared to the previous season. The growth is universally seen across markets – HSM 18 per cent, south 14 per cent.

Not to mention that the highly-anticipated Kolkata Derby between SC East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan on 27 November recorded the highest viewership for the legendary rivalry match.

The matches are taking place in a closed door setup and several technological innovations have been introduced to ensure a higher engagement with the audiences.

"We are thrilled to deliver a blockbuster opening week of the ISL 2020-21. After a successful IPL 2020, we laid emphasis on an enhanced viewing experience for football by stressing on product innovations, improved story-telling, and fan engagement. We hope to maintain the momentum and build on the gains in viewership in Week 1. ISL 2020-21 has also set the precedence for other sporting events to resume in India by following the highest safety standards," Star India sports head Sanjog Gupta had said in an official release.

Some of the sponsors for this year include Hero MotoCorp, Byju’s, Dream11, Himalaya Drug, Apollo Tyres, Nivea and others. 

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